#5688

Paul C. Edwards
Participant
@pedwards

Mary,

God bless you! I can only imagine the joys that await you as you embark on that next chapter in the months to come.

This might sound a bit strange, but I’m glad I have someone who completely understands my journey. In fact, that’s the beauty of these seminars – to encounter colleagues like yourself and the others who “get it”. Thank you for sharing our journeys!

As Leslie pointed out, we just have to keep reinforcing the issue of boundaries. At this stage in ministry, I don’t worry much anymore about folks not being happy that I took a day off or even went on vacation. I can’t save the world, and I remind folks quite often these days, that even Jesus had a habit of “getting away from the craziness” so that he could retool and be re-energized to go back and handle rowdy crowds, people in need and needy people. If Jesus needed to “step away” for a minute – to rest, to pray, then who are we to feel we can keep on blazing trails without pausing? That, (I think), is why I’ve lasted this long in the kinds of hectic and draining ministry settings I’ve been in.

Years ago, I was around a minister who is not unlike one of those that Leslie pointed out in his comments. He told us young seminarians at the time that ministers should not take vacations, because God does not go on vacation. I’m not sure if he was equating himself to God, though it sure seemed to me like that was what he was implying. Anyway, he was known (even as a younger man, compared to others in ministry at that time) to be lethargic and just plain tired all the time. He’s been that way for the past 30 years! Finally, last year, he retired! He’s done himself in and I’m really unsure how much longer he’ll be on this side of eternity. I’ve always used him as my example of what not to do.

Don’t get me wrong. I take ministry seriously. I make no excuses and I am as committed as the next person, sacrificing even precious time with my family along the way – not because I wanted a good name, but because I take God’s calling seriously and the privilege of pastoral comfort very seriously. But…..as Leslie pointed out, I’m no good if I’m too tired to utter a coherent sentence or offer a thoughtful and intentionally relevant prayer or to be emotionally, physically and spiritually present.

I’ve made self-care much more of a priority these days, than I used to do in my earlier years.